Gophers drop out of AP top 25, Coaches polls
FEB 11, 2013 10:49a ET
After losses to Michigan State and Illinois this past week, Minnesota dropped out of both the Associated Press top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll after being ranked No. 18 in both polls. The Gophers are the first team out of the AP poll, as they lead the "others receiving votes" category with 80 votes. By comparison, No. 25 Kentucky received 87 votes.
It’s the first time Minnesota has been unranked since November. The Gophers entered the AP Top 25 on Nov. 26, checking in at No. 21.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s next opponent moved back into the rankings for the first time since mid-November. After wins against Iowa and No. 3 Michigan, the Wisconsin Badgers jumped to No. 20 in the AP poll. Bo Ryan’s team began the season ranked No. 23 but dropped out of the polls in mid-November after a loss to Florida.
The unranked Gophers now host the No. 20 Badgers on Thursday at Williams Arena for the second meeting between these two rivals this season. Wisconsin narrowly won the first matchup, a 45-44 win in Madison over Minnesota.
The Gophers’ latest loss came Sunday at home to unranked Illinois. The Illini hit 10 3-pointers to sink Minnesota late in a 57-53 win. Tubby Smith’s squad also dropped a road contest to No. 12 Michigan State on the road by a 61-50 final.
Minnesota has now lost six of its last eight games and is 5-6 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is now 8-3 in the conference and seems to be gaining momentum while the Gophers are taking a step backward.
"We just haven’t executed well, especially taking care of the basketball in late-game situations," Smith said Monday on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. "Wisconsin is one of the best in executing and the way they've won the last couple of games, on last second shots and stuff, they really are playing well, playing with a lot of confidence. …
"We think and hope that playing here at the barn, at Williams Arena, would be an advantage for us, but we've struggled shooting the ball. Up until yesterday we had played pretty good here. …We know how important this game is and we need to embrace this opportunity and come ready to play."
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